The Bremer County Board of Supervisors on Monday afternoon rejected the first redistricting map created by the Legislative Services Agency, citing concerns of geographic imbalance.
Had the redistricting map been approved in its first draft as presented, the newly created District 3 would have been much larger in territory, raising concerns among current supervisors that issues such as county roads and the speed of their response to public comments, may not be as immediate and effective as voters expected in the current constituency setting.
The first rejected draft, however, is balanced for the population. The “ideal” population represented by a supervisor in Bremer County, which has 24,988, is 8,329, according to the January 19 letter sent to the council by the Legislative Services Agency.
If the rejected project had been accepted in its current form, it would have placed two of the current supervisors in the new District 3 and would have created an open seat in the new District 2.
Currently, Dewey Hildbrandt represents the current District 3 and Tim Neil District 2.
“Whoever wins, whether it’s you or me, we know that the closer the government is to the people, the more you are expected to do something, they want an answer within the hour if possible, so the largest district is a concern,” Hildebrandt said.
The rejection, along with the rationale, would be sent to the secretary of state’s office, said Bremer County Auditor Shelley Wolf. She added that council will likely get a response fairly quickly.
During the afternoon discussion, Scott LaRue, director of Bremer County’s Geographic Information System and chairman of the Temporary Redistricting Committee, a body made up of him, Republican John Baber and Democrat John Scheibel, said that even if some constituencies are moved to another district, the geography issue would be difficult to resolve because the law emphasizes population equity, which is difficult to achieve in sparsely rural areas populated.
The new redistribution will come into effect on January 3, 2023.
So candidates for the supervisor seats are expected to run in the June primary to take office in 2023 and begin a new four-year term.
Hildebrandt and Neil are in their third terms. Due to the way these are staggered, according to the current card, Neil expires at the end of this year, and Hildebrandt has two years and 11 months on his clock. The new division, had it been approved, would have abruptly wiped out Hildebrandt’s time and placed the two incumbents wishing to run for this position on the same starting line.
Hildebrandt told Waverly Newspapers he plans to run to represent the newly formed District 3.
Neil said he was torn because if he had run, under the rejected draft, he would have had to either face Hildebrandt or move 2 miles south to take up residence in the newly created District 2, a challenge without doubt because he resided in his current location. since 1967.
“I love my job, I love representing the people,” he told Waverly Newspapers earlier in the morning after a public hearing on the matter.
The hearing, which took place in the courthouse’s first-floor meeting room, which is reserved for occasions when larger crowds are expected, was attended by the supervisor, some area residents, including the mayor of Waverly Adam Hoffman, and Assistant County District Attorney Jill Dashner, who answered questions from the coaches as well as those from the public.
Scheduled for half an hour, the hearing lasted approximately 17 minutes.
The county’s new constituencies were created on December 20 and went into effect on January 15. the boundaries of the enclosure have been drawn.
According to the LSA document, proposed District 1 now encompasses four of Waverly’s five wards and includes Wards 10, 11, 12, and 14. District 2 includes Wards 5, 6, 7, 8, and 13. District 3 includes Wards 10, 11, 12, and 14. constituencies 1, 2, 3, 4 and 9.
Iowa Code Section 49.3 establishes five requirements for district design regarding an equitable number of residents, contiguous territory, and practicality of boundaries. It also stipulates that the cities must be represented by the same supervisor, unless the population requires it. The law specifically notes that the current addresses of incumbent supervisors cannot be considered when drawing boundaries.
Supervisor Ken Kammeyer is unaffected by the change as he remains a resident of his district, which is Waverly.
“I’m sure it’s just as frustrating for other state supervisors,” Hildebrandt said.